Ruben Gallego, Congressional Candidate in D7, Challenged Over 2008 Name Change
Ruben Gallego at the lectern.
On the heels of a lawsuit filed to knock Cesar Chavez, a Republican turned Democrat formerly known Scott Fistler, off the 7th Congressional District ballot over his newly invented identity, comes another name-change complaint -- also against a CD 7 candidate.
This one is against Ruben Gallego in reference to his name change in 2008 from Ruben Marinelarena (his father's last name) to Ruben Marinelarena Gallego (his mother's maiden name).
Mary Rose Wilcox, who is also a CD 7 candidate, fully endorses the lawsuit against Gallego.
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The lawsuit alleges Gallego is "misrepresenting" himself to voters and that his nomination petition "does not state the candidate's actual name" rendering him ineligible to have his name printed on the official ballot.
"Upon information and belief, "Gallego" is not his actual complete "surname and given name or names," the court document states.
Except that it is, at least according to court documents we got our hands on.
A Maricopa County Superior Court document states that "done in open court on August 7, 2008," Ruben Marinelarena legally changed his name to Ruben Gallego. Marinelarena became Gallego's middle name.
Wilcox said in a statement that "anyone running for public office has a responsibility to do so in an open and honest way. My opponent has used the names Ruben Marinelarena, Ruben Gallego, Ruben Gallego Marinelarena, and Ruben Marinelarena Gallego at different times for various purposes since he moved to Arizona, a few years ago. A lot has happened under each of those names, and the voters have a right to know who a candidate really is."'
Gallego explains that he changed his name because he says father was abusive to the family and left his mother to raise him. He says he simply no longer wanted to carry that man's last name. Instead, he wanted to honor the woman who raised him, and so he made Gallego his legal last name.
And, he waited until 2008, he says, because he didn't want to create a paperwork hassle by changing his name during military service. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008.
"My name is Mary Rose Wilcox, and this community knows who I am," she states in her press release.
Sometimes, however, she is also Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox.
Here are a few examples:
One flier with her biography as a member of the Board of Supervisors wedged in her maiden name as it describes her as a "fourth generation native from a pioneer Mexican-American family" and the "first Hispanic women to serve on both the Phoenix City Council and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors."
All those things are true, but the use of Garrido seems to be tossed in to somehow emphasize her authenticity/identity as a Latina.
Her Hispanic maiden surname also pops up in various endorsements over the years and legal documents during her time as a county supervisor.
We've got calls into both the Wilcox and Gallego campaigns for comment.
Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.